Results and Another Surgery
We got the news on friday. As the doctor suspected there is melanoma in the lymph nodes in Bryan's underarm. But, thankfully they did not find melanoma anywhere else in his body. The doctor was very pleased that the melanoma had not spread to any of his organs and for that we are all praising God.
It has only been today that I have really realized the full extent of how much we have to be grateful for in these results. The doctor had mentioned at the appointment wanting to make sure there wasn't any melanoma anywhere else in his body, but it has only been now that I fully realized what a growth around an organ would have meant.
If they had found cancer cells somewhere other than the armpit, it would have show a spread of distance. It would have moved Bryan from stage 3 to stage 4. And stage 4 melanoma is fatal. What they do to treat stage 4 is to prolong the battle as long as possible. According to the oncologist we talked to last year if you have stage 4 melanoma you are going to die from it eventually.
What a lot we have to be grateful for! There was no spread beyond the underarm. Even with the growth in the underarm he is still stage 3. His diagnosis hasn't changed. Realizing this was very encouraging for me today.
I have wondered this past 24 hours, exactly how I should respond to the PET scan news. It was not an unexpected result, but it was not all I prayed for. It was FAR better than it could have been, but it was still not what I had hoped for.
This was the first time I have ever really asked God for a miracle, for the impossible, the improbable. I asked God for there to be no melanoma at all. I can almost feel God wrapping his arm around me and saying "not this time."
Part of me wonders was it worth asking. But, intuitively I know the answer deep in my soul - YES. It was worth asking. And it will be worth asking again. I don't feel like God said no to my request, I don't feel like he left us here without answers and in despair. In fact, I feel the opposite. I feel his nearness. I feel his care and concern. I feel his answer as his mercy to us.
I felt his answer to the many prayers, his grace to us, when our car broke down and our pastors wife graciously let us use her car for two days.
I felt it when a sweet friend from church and her daughter came over and watched the kids so that I could take Bryan to his PET scan.
I felt his smile upon me when I found new episodes of a show that makes me smile on Netflix the evening I had to be alone and away from Bryan.
I felt his care when Bryan shared that they had let him listen to his favorite radio station during the PET scan and that the station had played a song he requested.
I felt him taking care of us and those who love us when the doctors call came at just the perfect time when Thad was at school and Sage was sleeping. And when my husband called his mom to tell her she was at that moment having lunch with a dear friend who I know would be a great comfort to her. These are God's grace to us.
I felt it when a friend from church dropped off a meal for us and when someone else from church offered to get us a farm box every other week for the next few months.
And I felt God's comfort when my mom decided to fly up to be here for Bryan's surgery and each time we got an email or a text with encouraging words from friends.
These numerous little things have been BIG graces to us during this. These have been God whispering "I hear you. I'm here. I care."
I just finished reading this beautiful post from my dear friend Jane, whose husband was diagnosed with leukemia just a few months before we first learned about Bryan's melanoma. She shared the lyrics of a song which brought tears to my eyes and very well captured what I am feeling in this moment. Here they are:
The love of God is greater far Than tongue or pen can ever tell; It goes beyond the highest star, And reaches to the lowest hell; The guilty pair, bowed down with care, God gave His Son to win; His erring child He reconciled, And pardoned from his sin.
O love of God, how rich and pure! How measureless and strong! It shall forevermore endure The saints’ and angels’ song.
Could we with ink the ocean fill, And were the skies of parchment made, Were every stalk on earth a quill, And every man a scribe by trade, To write the love of God above, Would drain the ocean dry. Nor could the scroll contain the whole, Though stretched from sky to sky.
Rejoicing in the journey, Bethany